The Court of Appeal has refused to hear an appeal lodged by a student who was found guilty of conspiracy to commit arson. The charge was in relation to a rubbish bin explosion outside the Legislative Council in 2015.

In March, the District Court sentenced Joe Yeung Yat-long to two years in prison after being convicted. Yeung, a former president of the Shue Yan University student union, pleaded not guilty.

high court political prisoner occupy activist protest rally democracy
Photo: In-Media.

A second student, Ip Cheuk-yin, was sent to a detention centre for participating in the incident. Ip had pleaded guilty.

According to the charges, Yeung and Ip, along with several others they became acquainted with online, caused one of the rubbish bins at the demonstration area outside the Legislative Council building to explode. After his arrest, Ip admitted that he was in charge of keeping watch.

The exploded bin.
The bin that exploded. Photo: Gov HK, Facebook.

The arson attack and explosion occurred after a rally against a controversial new copyright bill was cancelled by organisers. No one was injured.

On Wednesday, Yeung’s defence argued that the witness who testified that Yeung had instructed him to buy rubbing alcohol and newspaper for the plot, had – in fact – mistaken someone else for Yeung.

However, Court of Appeal Vice President Wally Yeung said that Joe Yeung and the witness had known each other for almost a year and engaged in regular communication. Hence, it was ludicrous to suggest that the witness had been mistaken about Yeung’s identity, Now TV reported.

The judge also said that the first instance judge’s sentence was not too heavy and rejected Yeung’s application.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.